Your first child really CAN put you off having more: Dip in happiness after birth ‘is greater for some than after divorce or death… and lowers chance of siblings’
As I was just saying on a blog post the other day:
- So much for the evangelical, Reformed, and Southern Baptist method of guilt tripping and shaming people into early marriage – and parenthood.
- They’ve been having fits about the fact that Christians are either not marrying at all (or not having children at all), or are not marrying or having children until later in life, so they’ve been screaming at Christians to marry before they are 25 and to start cranking out kids really young.
A sizeable portion of conservative Christians spend a lot of energy and effort guilting or propagandizing people into life choices that may make them deeply unhappy or have negative impacts upon their lives – like having lots of children, and having them really young.
Check this out:
- Scientists found the larger the perceived loss in wellbeing the smaller the chance a couple would go on to have a second child
- Dip in happiness after first baby greater than that after divorce, unemployment or death of a partner, for some parents
- Effect especially pronounced in well-educated and older parents
- Couples who suffer a drop in their happiness in the first year after becoming parents are less likely to go on to have more children.
- Scientists have found the larger the perceived loss in wellbeing, the smaller the chance of a second baby.
- And their findings suggest for some parents the dip in happiness after having a baby is greater than that experienced after divorce, unemployment or even the death of a partner.
- The investigation, carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, found the effect is especially pronounced in mothers and fathers who are well educated and older.
Their study focused on the taboo subject, that parents often experience a considerable loss of happiness in the wake of welcoming their first child into the world.
Mikko Myrskylä, demographer and new director at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, who worked with Rachel Margolis from the University of Western Ontario, said: ‘Parents’ experience with and after the first birth help predict how large the family will be eventually.
‘Politicians concerned about low birth rates should pay attention to the wellbeing of new parents around and after the birth of their first child.’
In order to explore the impact of the birth of a first child on parental happiness, researchers made use of self-reported life satisfaction in the German Socio-Economic Panel Study.
Each year 20,000 people assess their contentedness with life, on a scale from zero to 10 – with 10 indicating maximum wellbeing.
They found that after a first child, parents reported a loss of wellbeing that averaged 1.4 units on the happiness scale.
The decline was noted during the first year of parenthood compared to the two years before the birth.
Only just under 30 per cent of participants reported not feeling any decline in wellbeing.
And more than one third experienced a decline of two or more units of happiness.
This is notable compared to what international find for unemployment or the death of a partner – both with an average loss of one happiness unit – or divorce – minus 0.6 units on the same scale.
Calculations done by the team of researchers show how parental experience influences their wish for more children.
They noted only 58 of 100 couples who reported a drop in wellbeing of three units of more had a second child within 10 years.
Meanwhile, among parents who did not feel a reduction in happiness, 66 of 100 hundred couples had another baby.
Therefore, the share of families with at least four members was almost 14 per cent larger if happiness did not decline.
These results are independent of income, place of birth, or marital status of the couples.
The study was published in the journal Demography.
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Population Decline and Bay-bee Obsession – Christian Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Traditional Family, Christian Gender Complementarian Nuts (What they don’t understand: Only Jesus Christ can save people, not the ‘traditional family’ or having babies)